October 2, 2020

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What to Do With a Physics Degree

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What Can I Do With a Major in Physics?

Physics is sometimes referred to as the ‘liberal arts degree of science,’ because unlike some other fields in the sciences, physics isn’t vocational in nature. With that said, even though studying physics doesn’t directly prepare students for any particular type of employment after college, it’s still an incredibly valuable field of study.

The truth is, physics is a great major that provides students with an opportunity to develop many highly marketable skills. While in school, physics majors learn how to use mathematics to develop solutions to complex problems. This is a highly valuable skill set in every industry, and having a degree in physics opens up many opportunities in occupations related to finance, programming, healthcare, and engineering. In the end, every business runs on math.

If your intention is to attend graduate school or medical school after earning your bachelor’s degree, there’s good news there as well. Physics majors are great candidates for all sorts of graduate programs, and are even able to satisfy medical school requirements by taking just a few biology and chemistry courses along the way.

With so many options available, you can probably guess that very few physics majors actually go on to become physicists. According to recent surveys, less than thirty percent of physics majors end up working in an occupation that is closely related to the field of study. And that’s not a bad thing! It means that the degree leaves graduates with many options.

Regardless of where they end up working, there is good news for physics majors: college graduates with a bachelor’s in physics are highly desirable. As a whole, they make thirty percent more than the average of all college graduates.

Careers for Physics Majors

Below is a list of some of the most common career choices for those who graduate from physics programs. This is not a comprehensive list, but it should give you a good idea of the types of work that physics students do after graduation.

OccupationMedian SalaryMedian HourlyCurrent jobsOutlookRequired Education
Aerospace Engineer$97,480$46.8771,610NormalBachelor’s degree
Astronomer$87,260$41.951,470NormalDoctoral degree
Chemical Engineer$90,300$43.4131,660NormalBachelor’s degree
College Professor$62,050$29.831,756,000GoodGraduate Degree
Computer Programmer$71,380$34.32363,100GoodBachelor’s degree
Computer Systems Analyst$77,740$37.38235,410NormalBachelor’s degree
Cost Estimator$57,860$27.82217,760GoodBachelor’s degree
Electrical Engineer$84,540$40.64157,800NormalBachelor’s degree
Elementary School Teacher$51,660$24.841,549,520GoodBachelor’s Degree
Financial Analyst$74,350$35.75250,630GoodBachelor’s Degree
Financial Examiner$74,940$36.0327,020GoodBachelor’s Degree
Financial Manager$103,910$49.96539,250GoodBachelor’s Degree
High School Teacher$53,230$25.591,109,500GoodBachelor’s Degree
Hydrologist$75,690$36.398,130NormalMaster’s Degree
Industrial Engineer$83,340$40.07214,770NormalBachelor’s degree
Logistician$70,800$34.04100,380GoodBachelor’s degree
Management Analyst$78,160$37.58746,860GoodBachelor’s degree
Market Research Analyst$60,660$29.16249,810GoodBachelor’s degree
Mathematician$99,380$47.782,940GoodDoctoral degree
Mechanical Engineer$78,160$37.58238,700NormalBachelor’s degree
Middle School Teacher$51,960$24.98659,460GoodBachelor’s Degree
Occupational Health Specialist$64,660$31.0958,700NormalBachelor’s Degree
Physicist$86,410$41.5415,620NormalDoctoral Degree
Software Developer$94,180$45.28514,790GoodBachelor’s Degree
Statistician$73,720$35.4422,560NormalMaster’s Degree
Survey Researcher$73,720$35.4419,600GoodGraduate Degree

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